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NOW With Alex Wagner

News/Business. Alex Wagner. Forces driving the day's stories. New.

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Syria 13, Us 10, Washington 9, Rendell 8, John Kerry 7, Obama 7, Chuck Hagel 6, Boehner 6, Asia 6, U.s. 5, Fred 5, Virginia 4, London 4, United States 4, Clinton 4, Scott Rigell 3, Europe 3, Hagel 3, Richard Cohen 2, Kerry 2,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    February 26, 2013
    9:00 - 10:00am PST  

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the campaign of 2012 led to the election of 2012 which led to the campaign of 2013. it's tuesday, february 26th, and this is "now." >> executive vice president of the global strategy group and former senior advisor of priorities usa action the money bunny himself, bill burton. we are mefr not going to call you the money bunny. foremaner pennsylvania governor and current governor of "now" ed
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rendell, assistant managing editor and fortune magazine lee gallagher, who is just classing it up. she just doesn't need weird nicknames. the man with the golden throat, political analyst and georgetown university political professor eric dyson. >> as the looming sequester cuts, fear not. congress is back to work. >> will the house act? >> we should not have to move a third bill before the senate gets off their ass and begins to do something. >> we passed bills last year. i remind them that was a different congress. that doesn't count in this congress. republican leadership says let the senate begin. i remind them that the constitution says bills must begin in the house. >> in other words, forget the house. will the senate act? as early as tomorrow the upper chamber is preparing to vote on two bills to avert the cuts. a democratic version and a republican version. can they find a solution to replace the cuts unanimously
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decried as, well, stupid. the hill writes senate majority leader harry reid and minority leader mitch mcconnell recognize their bills are dead on arrival, but are forging ahead in an effort to secure public support in a messaging war over sequestration. in other words, forget the senate. meanwhile, republicans are blasting the white house for campaigning on the issue. to that end president obama will speak in the next hour at a shipyard in virginia, but he won't be alone on the trail. president obama is traveling with, wait for it, a republican congressman, scott rigell, and the message the president is taking to the people of virginia? >> i stand by those commitments to make the reforms for smart spending cuts. we also need republicans to adopt the same approach to tax reform that speaker boehner championed just two months ago. >> speaking of the message speaker boehner championed just two months ago, let us take a whirl in the not so way back
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machine. >> real revenue growth is critically important as long as real cuts in spending if we're going to solve our long-term fiscal problem. i made it clear to the president that i would put a trillion dollars worth of revenue on the table if he were willing to put a trillion dollars worth of spending reductions on the table. we have to find a way to address this significant spending problem that we have and we need to find a way through tax reform to begin to grow our economy in a way that will create more jobs in our country. >> bipartisan stump and invoking the speaker of the house still isn't enough to buy the president any ground among republicans. as jake sherman writes in "politico" jump-start negotiations with obama and beaner have been slammed for engaging in secret talks with the president whose party doesn't trust. raise taxes and boehner is courting trouble in his conference and endangering his speakership. both are simply nonstarters. the "new york times" argues that
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tough love is the only way to go. realistically the only way to break this standoff is for the sequester cuts to exact their toll on daily life, causing republicans to face pressure from the public, to negotiate an alternative plan with higher revenues in march. while the washington post argues that president will catch blame for not leading on entitlement reform. republicans pretend that they could balance the budget without more revenue and aa mathematical possibility and they have failed to put forward realistic mere-term entitlement reforms. but we take little comfort in mr. obama's being less irresponsible. in the end it is a battle of optics. who are the american people believing when the sequester sets in? governor rendell, it was at some point a question of whether the sequester will kick in. now it's a question of what happens after the sequester kicks in. given the positioning, the jockeying that's going on in this week, do you think the president comes out on top when the sequester takes place?
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>> i think what determines that question is what happens after the sequester takes place, and as co-chairman of campaign to fix the debt, which is in favor of simpson bolles, i think there's a silver lining here. if we had done something to get us through the sequester, it would have been a little bit by kicking can down the road. it wouldn't have been enough to really guarantee us that debt would have been less than 70% of gdp. now they're going to have a little bit of time. what they're going to do -- the only way republicans can ever accept additional revenue. in that clip you only got -- $600 billion. >> he said trillion. it was only $600 billion. >> the only way to get additional revenue for republicans is for significant entitlement reform that cuts significant money. we need to do another $2.5 trillion overall in revenue and in what we cut reducing spending, and the only way you
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get cuts that impact the second ten years and the third ten years is to do it on the entitlement side. i think the president has already put chain cpi on the table. >> yep. >> his base won't like, and will he have to do a selling job on his base. if the president it is let's do this, i need another $600 billion in revenue, we'll give you, you know, two and a half, three times that in spending cuts, they're going to be real spending cuts, i think we have a chants to do something that's really meaningful for the country, and i must have been drinking because i never drink. you would think it's a possibility. >> this is what i'm saying, bill. if the sequester goes through, do we really think the president is going to say, okay, now i'm prepared to come to the table with some meaningful reforms on medicare and social security. >> boehner said that wee even support in different circumstances that would be more cuts with only half as much in
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revenue. you would never understand from listening to republicans that over the course of the last four years the president has actually cut much more than he has raised taxes, and when you are looking at a 3-1 ratio, it's actually pretty good, and the deal on the table would be 2-1. you know, i think that the president is willing to make a deal, but there's nobody to make a deal with. there's an impossibility with john boehner. >> it's not just now. let's say in three weeks the reason i think there hasn't been a lot of deal making or discussion is because the republicans do not have a united front on this. i mean, boehner went from, as we say, $800 billion offered in revenue, tax raisers in the summer of 2011. at the end of last year he was talking about $1 trillion of revenue. now we have the $ 00 billion that the republicans effectively gave up on, and they're saying no more. now, the issue of trying to get them to move on that question and that question alone would seem to be something, i mean, i don't think yon john boehner knows the answer to the revenue question. >> no, i don't think so. if anything, i think the fiscal
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cliff deal strengthens republicans' resolve on this issue, and we think we gave you what we wanted. even though they didn't, even though it was a halfway compromise, they see that as unprecedented compromise on their side in revenue. that strengthened their resolve, and they're more willing than ever to surrender on the revenue issue, i think, and that's one-half of the problem. >> yeah, and it comes down to this -- as we have been talking about the effects of sequester, professor dyson, and there is a lot of back and forth over whether it will be immediate pain, how catastrophic it will be. it seems to be fairly localized. some places are going to feel it more than others. you have the rand pauls in the party that are saying these cuts aren't deep enough. you have president obama with scott rigell that he thinks these things will be painful, and is heotology travel with president obama, and the question is how does a party come to any kind of consensus when local politics are really dictating national fracture? >> they really are.
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>> you can't even open up the doors. bill burton has already said the litmus test for the ability to compromise as president obama's ability to chagrin his own base. he has done it 3-1. he has cut a lot more than he has raised the revenue. he has tried to reach across the aisle. they're not willing to talk about wages, about, and taxes which will help close the disparity between those who have and those that don't. you know, retirement income and business income have exacerbated the inequality that exists and beyond that we know that dividends last weekend and these capital gains, and they're not even willing to close loophole that is would generate the revenue that they're talking about because they don't want to deal with the rich guys. >> or if they're willing to close loopholes, skwet what do you do with that money? the president wants to pump it back into programs that help the poor and middle class. they want to use it to reduce rates across the board. i don't see any bridges being built across it. >> there's a couple of problems. first, the people who would benefit from those kind -- that
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kind of spending, poor kids, women who are on wick, people who are at the lower end of the economic scale don't have the kind of political pressure that they can apply in washington, like the defense contractors, and people who scott rigell is trying to help out by going to the president to virginia today. even if we know that's the most stimulative thing you can do in the economy is pump money into the lower income sectors of the economy to make sure that they're just pump it right back in, republicans just aren't there. >> or investment long-term in terms of american ability and the strengthening of the american economy. governor, i wonder what you think this fight does to the looming fights on gun control and on immigration because we quoted jake sherman once. i'll quote him again. he thinks this is a bet on boehner's side to prolong the fight. he says "there are political positives in prolonging this fight. long fights will keep obama from muscling gun, immigration, and climate change legislation through congress, battle that is are sure to expose fissures
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among house republicans and political victory for the president. >>". >> that's right. that's clearly make it harder to make progress on immigration, guns, and things that there was a chance to reach some form of consensus on. i will tell you, the -- what bill said is particularly relevant here. the republicans have to do something about revenue. you have mcconnell and cornyn facing primaries next year. it's very difficult -- it's very tough to do it. if we're going to make something happen here, we have to have cover and the corps cover has to come from significant entitlement reform, but i also think what bill said is slightly wrong. >> most of what bill said is mostly correct and slightly wrong. >> it's not just poor people who benefit by spending. if you spend money on infrastructure, you're benefitting contractors, you're benefitting, you know -- >> broad economic workers. >> broad economic workers.
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clearly that has a tremendous return. i testified ten days ago before the house transportation committee, bill shuster's first hearing as chairman. i testified for two and a half hours with the head of the chamber, tom donahue, and with the labor leader, terry o'sullivan. everyone on that committee, including men and women who said i'm a conservative republican, they all said we have to do something about the nation's infrastructure. let's get moving. let's do these -- >> it only works if everybody is equal at the starting gate. the mythology of universality is everybody gets equally benefitted. they don't. if you start at a place that's behind, universal spending doesn't help you at all, or it helps you very little. it doesn't really solve the problem. i think president obama is seeing this bite hem in the political butt because he is an investor in that kind of universal -- if universal was already good, we wouldn't have to have -- >> infrastructure is something that theoretically benefits everyone, but early childhood education is one way of closing the gap and making sure that
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everybody starts from the same point. >> it's a way of talking about how we're going to hit poor people more. >> we're talking about the beginning of life -- not the end of life, but the golden years. >> governor, really quickly, how much do you think -- i mean, nikki hailey was saying we got to get to work, we have to do something. at the state level there is something on the part of the -- the people at the state level, whether that statehouses or governors in the executive branch are going to say enough of this. we have got to do something. the sequester cuts are terrible for us. we're not going to stabbed by the party on a national level as far as -- >> two things happen over the weekend. bob woodward's article wasn't great for the white house, but the governor's meeting couldn't have been timed better because governors understand that their states are going to feel the pain in different ways, but everyone will feel some of it. they spoke out. you have jan brewer saying compromise. that's a big deal. >> jan brewer -- >> she waiged her finger. >> she waggled her finger at people in congress. >> jan brewer who eats scorpions for breakfast is talking about
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compromise. you know things have gotten desperate when that's happening. the senate is now holding a cloture vote on defense secretary nominee chuck hagel. whoa, it's been a long time coming. the chamber hoepdz to hold a final vote today or tomorrow. more on that vote just ahead. first, after the break, john kerry makes his maiden voyage as secretary of state. will he carry the majdz mantle of obama or clinton? we'll discuss kerry's world tour when p.j. crowley joins us next on "now." ♪ you know my heart burns for you... ♪ i'm up next, but now i'm singing the heartburn blues. hold on, prilosec isn't for fast relief. cue up alka-seltzer. it stops heartburn fast. ♪ oh what a relief it is!
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sdmrirchlgt as the u.s. continues to -- john kerry embarked on his first overseas voyage as secretary of state. kerry's destination choice didn't come from the white house playbook. some white house officials wanted him to follow in clinton's foot steps bay making his maiden overseas trip a tour of asia, according to two people close to the situation. instead kerry insist odd a ten-day trip that starts in london. that raised a few eyebrows, says one state department adviser about kerry's decision. in london yesterday kerry poured on his trademark diplomatic harm to show that the special relationship was alive and well. >> it's no accident for sure that this is the first stop on my trip as secretary of state. i came here many, many years ago as a young child, managed to get lost in london zoo. i want to thank somebody for find meg. >> his diplomatic chops were put
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to the test when he had to privately promise syrian opposition leaders more nonmilitary aid to end their threatened boycott of an international friends of syria meeting. kerry will attend that in rome later this week in london the secretary said the u.s. was examining its options. >> this moment is ripe for us to be considering what more we can do. we are determined that the syrian opposition is not going to be dangling in the wind, wondering where the support is or if it's coming, and we are determined to change the calculation on the ground for president assad. >> today kerry is in berlin meeting with angela merkel. while there, he will also hold a key meeting with russian foreign minister sergei lavrov to discuss the civil war in syria that has killed over 70,000 people. he will also discuss another major foreign policy challenge, iran. a fresh round of talks begins today in kazakhstan between the islamist regime and the u.s. and other world powers. joining us now to discuss this
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and so much more, former secretary of -- former assistant secretary of state p.j. crowley. it is always great to have you on our program. especially as our new secretary of state begins his world tour. >> thanks, alex. >> so let's talk, first, about, you know, in whose footsteps john kerry will follow. there is that politico report saying he is sort of exerting himself perhaps more than the obama white house thought he would given the fact that he is determining his own itinerary. we have long discussed this so-called pivot to asia. john kerry is not starting in asia, but is, of course, starting across the atlantic. >> well, he gave a major speech last week at the university of virginia, so he is following, among other people, thomas jefferson as secretary of state. you know, look, i think not only given the challenging agenda you outlined, but we have a potential close and potentially stalemated election in italy that profoundly affects our economy. trade legislation -- trade agreement with europe and the future of the euro zone are
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major issues in terms of u.s.-european relations. there's a lot to work with as the secretary makes his maiden voyage. i'm not surprised that given that hillary went to asia for her first trip that john kerry does some rebalancing in terms of returning focus to europe. >> there is a lot of talk about secretary clinton and her many accomplishments while in office, but there wasn't one big signature achievement and kerry may be sort of out for more of a gold star on the vest, if you will. i'll read an excerpt from the politico story. while he publicly supports obama's long-standing policy of reorienting the foreign and national security strategy towards klein and asia, kerry is privately less enthusiastic about the pivot than hillary clinton. he seems more interested in the here and now, hoping to interseed directly on contemporary crisis in syria and iran and helping to broker a new trade pact with europe. on the question of syria, i mean, we mentioned 70,000 dead, the violence, the carnage
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continues. the white house has been reluctant to take any major -- put any boots on the ground, but it's not even a sort of something that the president talks about with all that frequent -- that much frequency. can john kerry actually make any headway in the middle east? >> well, i mean, first 2015 we have a much different global situation than we had in 2009. i mean, coming off the bush administration, its focus on the middle east, its focus on the war on terror. it was absolutely appropriate to reassure allies and also, you know, reen force the importance of the relationship of china, so doing the rebalance there made perfect sense. there have been achievements. not only a stable relationship with china, with managing difficult issues, but a significant opening with a country like burma which is not something we expected in 2009. we face -- we confront a different challenge in 2013. obviously, the situation with respect to iran is still uncertain. a lack of progress there with the past four years, although
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intensified sanctions. a very difficult situation in syria. you know, and the potential -- continued potential as to what to do about, you know, the israeli-palestinian situation which we receive renewed tensions over a death of a prisoner and there. part of what the secretary of state does is he is the face of the obama foreign policy wresh also is out there trying to determine what is possible, what can be achieved, what are the options for the president, and then he carries out, you know, the president's foreign policy. john kerry would be, you know, acting just as hillary clinton did, but in a much different national security environment than existed four years ago. >> well, and we talk about national security. i mean, i want to open this up to our panel here. a lot of times you talk about domestic versus international and the reality is we are in fess cal belt-tightining on the domestic front. we don't have a lot of political
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capital as far as moving out. a lot of republicans want to cut our foreign aid. there is a lot of talk about how much intervention we should actually be engaging in. i thought that richard cohen today in "the washington post" laid out a compelling and somewhat terrifying view of instability in the middle east. he writes boldness is what the situation in syria demanded. a civil war that could have been contained has, instead, become a sprawling region-wide bar fight. the stakes are enormous. lebanon teeters, swamped with refugees. jordan, too, is overwhelmed. the kurds in syria's north may, as they have in nearby iraq, established an autonomous zone, and the turkish will not be -- the vast store of chemical weapons, israel watches nervously, what if ez bowl gets its hands on chemical weapons, and the obama administration afraid of blow back may have allowed the middle east to blow apa apart. that's a foreign policy view of what's going on. we also get a lot of oil from the middle east. >> we do zoosh on a purely sort of economic front we are tied to
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the middle east with our petroleum-based economy. so it is interesting to me that there is not more of a seeming fire in the belly, as it were, on the part of the administration to deal with this part of the world. >> well, it's -- and it's becoming increasingly a place of unrest. i mean, richard engel has spoken about what he calls a band of conflict, which is basically from lebanon through syria into iraq, and if you look at what's happened also in northern africa, you know, nobody really talked that much about what happened in algeria last month. the terrorist attack there and the natural gas field, you know, there is increasingly it seems there is cooperation, regionally among extremists and the danger is spreading, and so it does need attention, and it needs it now. >> but just on cohen's op ed, it's not that the president just doesn't want -- is too busy to deal with the middle east or that he thinks that the policy of doing nothing is the best case. the president is a guy who sits in every single day goes through the intelligence, and has to
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make a decision on whether or not it makes sense for the united states to intervene or not intervene. if the united states intervenes in a prays like syria, what he ends up doing is destabilizing whom ever it is that's going to replace this government. yes, it's frustrating to watch what is a tragic situation unfolding, but that doesn't mean it's not the best possible outcome of a bunch of really bad outcomes. >> p.j., you would probably argue that there is such a lack of clear actors in the syria conflict that it's sort of hard to get involved even if one were to want to. >> well, i think what the president has done is he is not going to throw 100,000 troops or a massive display of shock and awe and airpower into a situation unless, you know, there's a clear understanding that that -- those kinds of actions can have impact, the right kind of impact, at an acceptable cost. you know, it's not ignoring what is happening in mali. it's setting up a new intelligence base in niger and
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is supporting french and african intervention. the president's policy in syria is to prepare for the day after and also to make sure that the region itself, you know, takes ownership for what's happening in syria. you know, you're seeing a higher level of weaponry come into syria. the united states is helping to vet who gets those weapons, but those weapons are coming through gulf sources, not from u.s. sources. he is much more cautious about the application of u.s. power to preserve that for when we really need it. as bill just said, it's very, very frustrating, but at the same time, you know, richard cohen is suggesting that we start a war and start a sequester at the same time, and you cannot divorce domestic politics and foreign affairs.
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>> this is the last job he is going to have. given the immediate si of the threats to national security or the foreign policy questions in the middle east or north africa, wouldn't you think he would at least lobby the white house to be more engaged on those issues specifically? >> well, i challenge the assumption, alex, that the white house is not engaged in these issues. look, asia is a very, very strategic part of the world to the united states. however, the most urgent situations that you face are with syria, are with iran, and i would argue with egypt as well. as egypt goes -- what happens in egypt will tell you a lot about the future of the middle east. and you also have the interesting and dangerous spread of extremism into places like mali, so the future is in asia, but the president is in the middle east and north africa, and that's where the administration is heavily
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focused. >> there's no shortage of foreign policy crisis around the world in any part of the country, the globe you spin it, and you can find one. certainly difficult time for the administration. your insight and i think tempered analysis is much appreciated, p.j., as always. >> pleasure, alex. >> back in august president obama called for a constitutional amendment to overturn citizens united, but as the supreme court gets set to take up another key campaign finance case, the president's action network is getting flack for outreach to big donors. we will talk money just ahead. ♪ alright, let's go. ♪ shimmy, shimmy chocolate. ♪ shimmy, shimmy chocolate. ♪ we, we chocolate cross over. ♪ yeah, we chocolate cross over. ♪ [ male announcer ] introducing fiber one 80 calorie chocolate cereal. ♪ chocolate. 80 calorie chocolate cereal.
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>> the willing assy of president obama's -- is facing sharp
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criticism about granting special access to big spenders. something that put white house press secretary jay carney in an awkward position yesterday. >> without advocacy organizations, and this has been true in prior administrations and true in this one. >> 500,000 does not guarantee you access to the president. >> this is an independent organization. i would point you to that organization for how it raises its money. it has said quite clearly distinguishing it from other organizations that it will disclose its donors. i would point -- i would direct your questions to them. >> we'll discuss whether campaign finance reform is d.o.a., when democracy 21's fred worthheimer joins us next on "now." think ju etting rid of dark spots will restore even skin tone? think again. introducing olay professional even skin tone. developed by experts in skin genomics to target 5 major causes of uneven skin tone and help restore even color. olay professional even skin tone.
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the end. lovely read susan. but isn't it time to turn the page on your cup of joe? gevalia, or a cup of johan, is like losing yourself in a great book. may i read something? yes, please. of course. a rich, never bitter taste cup after cup. net weight 340 grams. [ sighs ] [ chuckles ] [ announcer ] always rich, never bitter. gevalia. as washington addresses its spending problem, the supreme court has glaeed hear a case on a spending problem of a
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different sort. campaign spending. last tuesday the high court said it would hear arguments challenging the federal limits on campaign contributions from individuals. in some ways the last vestages of democracy in a citizens united world. the suit was brought by wealthy alabama republican sean mchutchin who after contributing to 16 different candidates in federal races in 2011 and 2012 decided he wasn't done yet. because he wanted to donate to an additional 12 candidates and to contribute to several republican organizations, but he had already reached the federal limit. for the next election cycle the total cap on contributions is $123,200, which breaks down to $48,600 in donations to candidates and $74,600 for parties and political action committees. >> this is all bull because there is no limit. because of the super pacts, can you help candidates. you can give $6 million. you can -- >> to the super pacts.
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>> this is all bull. >> we are talking federal election rules relating to parties and -- >> which are complete bull. >> let's go back to the open of this segment. mchutchen argues these limits -- always -- trust rendell to throw this live wire. >> give me his phone number. ly tell mchutchin how to contribute millions of dollars. >> these limits violate mchutchin's right to engage in a democratic process. until recently federal courts have upheld contribution limits in the interest of preventing corruption, but the current supreme court led by chief justice john roberts has taken a very different view, one that tends to equate money with speech. the roberts court has voted to limit or val indicate every campaign finance law considered over the past several years. how worried should we be about this case? some say we should be preparing for citizens united part two. it has found an unlikely champion, president obama. the "new york times" supported that the president's advocacy
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group, organizing for action, is essentially selling access to the white house. according to the times giving or raising $500,000 or more puts donors on a national advisory board for mr. obama's group and the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the president. president obama felt differently about the role of money and politics. >> that's one of the reasons i ran for president because i believe so strongly that the voices of ordinary americans were being drowned out by a clamber of a privileged few in washington. >> where did that guy go? joining us now from washington is fred worthheimer, president and ceo of democracy 21. great to have you on the program. >> thank you. >> so, fred,ly read a quote of yours in a politico article from last month. you said this is the worst possible way for president obama to start his second term in office, an inexplicable action by the president who -- taken to the country for years about the dangerous role played by corporate and special interests money in influencing the way
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business is done in washington. >> yes. well, i do want to get governor rendell's comments, which are interesting, but wrong. but on this particular matter, this is an unprecedented step that the president has taken. he has outsourced a porpgs of the presidency, creating a private sector operation operating under the umbrella of the president that is going to raise money from corporations and individuals in unlimited amounts to be spent to advance his agenda. now, the danger here is unlimited contributions from corporations and individuals create the opportunity to buy corrupting influence and to create the appearance of buying corrupting influence. this is being done by the president who warned says repeatedly about the dangers of
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corporate money in the political system, who warned us as -- about doing business as usual in washington, and this is taking business as usual to new heights in this city. >> before we get to the colloquy between and you the governor, i want to bring in bill burton because, bill, you ran -- or were a senior advisor, i think is the official title, for the president's super pact, priorities usa action. numerous times during the campaign season we talked about how you did not want to have that job. you hoped that -- anymore. you hoped that super pacts would be regulated out of existence one day, and yet, the president is re-elected and this is where he is planting his flag. not for campaign finance reform, but effectively auctioning off access to the oval office to high donors. >> when he calls it inexplicable that the president would have some group that helps to advance
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his legislative agenda, if you look at what happened in the first term, just take health care, for example. $100 million was spent by the opponents of health care reform to try to stop it and to try to shape it in a way that was not beneficial to how it should work for the american people. so if the president and the people who support him were to sit back and say, you know what, with these big things that are coming down the line between gun control, immigration, climate, even on the economy and what's happening with sequestration and fiscal cliff. for them to sit by and say we're going to let the forces of the right gather up their armies, raise hundreds of millions of dollars, they can cut checks for that amount, and just stand by and do nothing, that would be inexplicable. it would be inexcusable because the consequences aren't even to just the wealthiest who have the money to give it. it's to the people who are disadvantaged. the people who don't have the voice. >> it's understandably a brave new world in terms of, you know, campaigning and the influence of outside groups, but isn't that just the reasoning for an arms
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race on this? i mean, it's effectively the argument as the other side is doing it and to compete we have to do it too. how does it ever stop? >> the argument is it stops when you get politicians committed to passing reform, and the president has tried to get something through congress. the disclose act, which has been jammed up by republicans in the senate who don't -- won't let it through. it's not that the will is not there on the democratic side. it's just that there are not enough members to actually get anything done. the president is committed to reform, but if you are to just sit by and say i'm for reform and then let the coke brothers just roll right over you, that would be stupid. >> when i read that the $500,000 donation will get you in a meeting with the president, there's one thing in having a grassroots advocacy network, and there's another in terms of soliciting donations, small, medium, and large, and there's decidedly another one when it seems like an auction sfwloosh it stinks to high heaven to be sure. bill has laid out the situation. the economics of the fact are
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that you got all of this unlimited capital because not only is speech money, but corporations are people. so what you end up doing is reinforcing the values of the rich. president obama has a legacy at stake which says i wanted to speak against this. he can't avoid the optics of being now coopted by this influence no matter how much rebellion and resistance you want to put forth, and i am sympathetic to the argument that while you're in the cave with the bear, until you cage him up, have you to fight him. i get that point. so that reform -- these republicans are horrible, they don't -- they are for the rich wr. if president obama was following that money directly to poor people, i'm down with it. it's not happening. >> that would be the argument, though, fred. that's the argument, which is that this is not an organize that's going to be beholden to the interests of the wealthy, but is, in fact, fighting for the poor and the working class. >> look, bill burton left out the fact that health care reform passed and it passed because a lot of money was spent by a lot of outside groups to support health care reform.
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this is different. this is an outside group that for all practical purposes is an arm of the presidency. let me get back to the so far nondebate with governor rendell. governor rendell will remember a man by the name of senator russell long, a very wise and powerful senator in washington. he once said in simple terms the difference between a large campaign contribution and a bribe is a hairline's difference. now, if the supreme court makes the wrong decision in the mchutchin case, a president, a majority leader, a speaker of the house will be able to directly solicit checks of $1 million, $2 million, or $3 million from wealthy donors who are looking to buy government decisions. they can't do that now.
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there are enormous stakes in the mchutchin decision. the supreme court has never declared a contribution limit on constitutional in its history. these aggregate limits have been upheld by the supreme court in the past. we have a hostile supreme court now. they created the super pact problem, and we have got to do the best we can while this supreme court is around. they won't last forever, and times will change, but with this system now, we have to do the most we can to protect ordinary americans from their government being corrupted and from federal office holders being corrupted. >> governor rendell, i'll give you a chance to respond. >> sure. fred, you're a wonderful man, and i think there's a wonderful suite in heaven waiting for you, but you're inexplicably naive. you say that the super pacts -- you know, the candidate or mcconnell or romney or whoever it is can't ask for money
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directly from someone. well, does anybody think that when the romney super pact came calling and asked john jones to give $10 million that governor romney didn't know about that or wasn't going find out about that? ludicrous. ludicrous. >> i think there's -- >> i would argue your side of the mchutchin case, but i don't think it matters. i think citizens united has ripped asundayer any shred of control we had, and that's a fact, and mr. mchutchin, call me. i will show you how to do this. we're about 100th of what you are paying those lawyers. >> fred, i don't know. i mean, i guess on a practical level i understand how shelly adelson's contributions ethwe'll made their way effectively furthering mitt romney's campaign goals, but i agree with you in terms of if we're just talking about the veneer of someone like harold simmons saying, john boehner, here's $3 million, and this is what i need for it is something that i think strikes a cord in many american hearts.
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>> it's disturbing. >> she agreed with you, fred. just nod and say thanks. >> i am -- i'm still here. thanks for agreeing. the american people hate this system, and -- >> we have to do something about it. >> before we're done, it will be reformed as we have done in the past. we've always fought corruption in this country, and we will do it again no matter what all the so-called politics are about this system. >> they just moved a 70 inch flat screen into your suite. >> the governor, as always, one for wit. you are fighting the good fight. thank you so much for joining the program. democracy 21. >> thank you. >> the senate voted to finally move forward on the nomination of defense secretary nominee chuck hagel. the chamber will hold its final vote on hagel this afternoon. we'll discuss the actual vote tally just ahead. we've all had those moments.
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the snaut just voted to move chuck hagel on to confirmation with a vote. we will discuss the hagel haggle next. ♪ you know my heart burns for you... ♪ i'm up next, but now i'm singing the heartburn blues. hold on, prilosec isn't for fast relief. cue up alka-seltzer. it stops heartburn fast. ♪ oh what a relief it is! all the things we love about sunday meals into each of her pot pies. like tender white meat chicken and vegetables in a golden flaky crust that's made from scratch. marie callender's pot pies. it's time to savor.
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awe few moments ago the senate paved the way for chuck hagel's confirmation as defense secretary voting to end the filibuster. can chuck hagel mend fences in the republican party? >> is he technically a republican, but i think we should leave the guy alone, respect the president's decision, and see what committee do. >> leave the dude alone. >> amen. >> amen to that. i don't know. he has a lot on his plate. john brennan is now the strawman for the republican party. they may hold up his nomination. in the end, michael eric dyson,
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is this obstruction benefitting the republican party? >> not at all. the reality is that they hate who they hate because they hate the guy in charge, so they end up hating the people who are themselves. we've seen the enemy, and it's us, except they don't recognize that they're doing the country a great disservice, and by targeting, you know, hagel and brennan, and you might have legitimate opposition to them, but do it in a way that is above board, not across the board kind of filibustering and the people who are in the cabinet serve at the president's leisure and his pleasure, and we've now set a horrible precedent. >> we have to leave it there, but thank you to bill, governor rendell, lee and michael. that's all for now. see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern when i'm joined by cnbc's andrew ross sorkin, new york magazine's jonathan cha at the, mother jones david corn. until then -- >> much better. >> you really have to stop saying that. log on to facebook.com/now with alex for more on chuck hagel's
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haggle. andrea mitchell reports is coming up next. >> all eye on the midwest today with kansas city expecting up to a foot of snow and heavy, heavy rain extends all the way into the southeast. severe storms are possible today in the panhandle of florida. washington d.c., could even see thunderstorms later today. new york city, we will start to see some lighter showers. not until later in the day. highs in the northeast today in the mid to upper 40s. [ female announcer ] it balances you...
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